'Awarta, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 6.4.11, Morning

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Dalia Furman, Dvorka Oreg and Bruria Rozenwachs (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translator:  Charles K.


Kafr a-Dik:  We visited the community center.  Dalia Furman gave a calisthenics lesson, and we began English and Arabic lessons (we’re the pupils for Arabic lessons, of course).  Both sides were satisfied.  We feel they particularly enjoy the calisthenics, which is a new activity for them.

From there we drove to Awarta, passing the Za’tara and Huwwara checkpoints on the way.  Both are open, without soldiers.

Awarta:  The village is fairly quiet; most of those on the streets are children returning from school.  We asked about someone and were told that he, his brothers and cousins have been arrested.  People we met told us thirty people were arrested the day before yesterday.

They told us about nighttime raids in the village, homes and shops broken into.  One person said they came at night to take him and drove around for hours with him in a jeep.  They wanted to dump him by the roadside, but he begged them to take him home; he’s handicapped – they dropped him off next to his home.

They said that when soldiers want to enter shops they simply break in, wantonly break the locks and windows.  Soldiers have stolen money, sometimes large amounts – for example: ten thousand Sheqels, and gold was also stolen.

The village children are very frightened; they’re afraid to go to sleep at night and any noise startles them.  One man said that when his son sees a soldier he hides in the closet.

We visited a women whose two sons were arrested, met her other children and her daughter-in-law (the wife of one of those sons).  Here’s her story:

They were woken at midnight by a noise and when they got up to see what happened the son saw a soldier looking in the window.  He’d come from the other brother’s house, and also searched the sheepfold.  The soldiers called the son, told him to shut up, entered the house, grabbed him, began to harass him, ordered him to stand, sit, etc.  After they took him out of the house they continued harassing him outside.  Then they told everyone to get out of the house.  When they were allowed to return they were put in one room; the handcuffed sons were put in the adjoining room, blindfolded, sitting on the floor.  The soldiers sat on the sofas, laughing and joking.  The mother said they were very satisfied with themselves.

She described the soldiers’ shameless behavior – trampling the mattresses with muddy shoes, and when she asked them where they expected the children to sleep they did so again.

During their search they opened a wardrobe in which there were new clothes which hadn’t yet been worn; there was also a bottle of medicine.  In response to the soldier’s question she told them it was her husband’s medicine.  The soldier opened the bottle and poured its contents on the new clothes.  There were new mattresses on the wardrobe, still in their original packaging.  The soldier brought them down, opened the packages, trampled them with his muddy shoes.

They released one of the sons and arrested the other, telling him to say goodbye to your mother, you won’t see her for a long time.

After taking the son, they continued their search.

Some of the soldiers had their faces concealed.